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Pittsburgh's Sports and Exhibition Authority Seeking Hotel Developer for 500-room
 Hotel Attached to Convention Center

The Hotel Would Supplement the 616-room Westin Convention Center Hotel
By Jeremy Boren, The Pittsburgh Tribune-ReviewMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Apr. 15, 2010 --There's renewed interest in building a 500-room hotel attached to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, officials said today.

The Sports & Exhibition Authority's board of directors voted to pay Downtown-based consultant Holiday, Fenoglio, Fowler, LP, up to $85,000 to seek out interested developers and possibly create a request for proposals to build the long-stalled concept.

Mary Conturo, the authority's executive director, said Amazing Hospitality Group of Portland, Ore., is among those who expressed interest in building the hotel, but she wouldn't name others.

"What we want is a room block that the Convention and Visitors Bureau can market to potential conventions," Conturo said.

The hotel would supplement the 616-room Westin Convention Center Hotel on Penn Avenue. The SEA nixed a 2008 plan to find developers when the economy turned sour. Now that the economy has improved, interested in the project picked up again, Conturo said.

In other actions, the SEA authorized spending $779,227 to repaint steel on the exterior of Heinz Field, seal the seating bowel and replace flooring between the players' locker rooms and the gridiron. Nearly 10 years of heavy use by cleat-wearing football players has worn out the floors.

Money for the repairs comes from a reserve fund fed by a ticket surcharge assessed on Heinz Field events.

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